MyAmericanFuture

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MyAmericanFuture

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 19, 2017: Historical Fictions: Cloudsplitter



[Last week, I began teaching my graduate American Historical Fiction: Practice and Theory class for the fourth time, this time as a hybrid course. So this week I’ll briefly highlight (busy with teaching and all) a handful of exemplary historical fictions and related contexts. Share your own favorite historical fictions or authors for a boundary-blurring crowd-sourced weekend post, please!]
Today’s nominee for an amazing American historical novel is Russell Banks’s
Cloudsplitter (1998).
I’ll admit it, for a long time I hated Banks’ novel; not because of anything really about it, but because my fallback plan had always been to write a historical novel about John Brown from the point of view of one of his sons, and then Banks went ahead and did that and did it amazingly well. But you can only hold onto your hate for so long before you realize that an amazing historical novel about fathers and sons, family and nation, violence and spirituality, the coming of the Civil War, and heroism and villainy in American identity is worth celebrating. Even if it did crush your dreams a bit.
Next historical fiction tomorrow,
Benc
PS. What do you think? Other historical fictions or authors you’d highlight?

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